It has been demonstrated that the in vitro assembly of microtubules from Chlamydomonas preparations does not occur under a wide range of conditions, including those efficacious for mammalian brain tubulin. This incompetence of Chlamydomonas extracts to form microtubules is independent of the tubulin concentration, the presence of added nucleotides or an added seed, temperature, or the concentration of divalent cation. However, an amorphous aggregate was observed under certain conditions, who composition was mainly tubulin. The in vitro reassembly of microtubules in gerbil brain extracts is inhibited by Chlamydomonas preparations. Fractionation of the Chlamydomonas extracts by column chromatography suggests that the inhibitory component is Chlamydomonas tubulin itself. The mechanism of this inhibition is unknown, but reassembly experiments indicate that the 2 types of tubulins cannot copolymerize. We suggest that the Chlamydomonas tubulin, derived from a cytoplasmic pool, requires to be activated prior to its in vivo polymerization into microtubules.

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